by Saifullah Bashir
SRINAGAR: Kashmir has moved from national elections to state elections. Article 370 that was read down in August 2019 is being loudly talked about in Bihar that goes to polls on in three phases starting October 28. Bihar’s 243 member house election is the first major electoral exercise after the major lockdown dictated by Covid-19.
Kashmir got into Bihar polls by the creation of a sort of insecurity. While addressing rallies in Vashali, Nityanand Rai, minister of state for home, said that “If RJD (opposition) come in power, terrorists would escape Kashmir and take shelter in Bihar. We won’t let them do that”.
The statement triggered a chain reaction. But what was said?
In subsequent days, various top leaders of the national parties, mostly the BJP, did their best to somehow mention Article 370 in their rallies.
Not only a normal politician but Prime Minister, as well as Chief Minister, targeted opposition parties for not supporting this act of central government.
“Earlier, a person from this part of Bihar could not even think of owning property in Kashmir. The Congress had put such a system in place,” UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said in three public meetings on October 21. “But Narendra Modi and Amit Shah changed all that. Article 370 has been scrapped and the people now have a license to purchase and own property in any part of Kashmir.”
Then the Prime Minister Narendra Modi personally flew and he also talked about Article 370.
“Everyone was waiting for Article 370 to be repealed but these people are saying that they will overturn the decision once they are voted to power,” Modi was quoted saying in Sasaram, where he addressed a joint rally with Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.
“The NDA government abrogated Article 370. These people say they will bring it back if they come to power. After making such statements they dare to ask for votes from Bihar? Is this not an insult of Bihar? The state which sends its sons and daughters to the borders to protect the country?”
This has puzzled the Kashmir political class. “BJP has nothing to give or to show people and now they are using Kashmir card in other regions,” Mehbooba Mufti told in her maiden presser. “No one is talking about GDP, rise in rape cases in UP, Covid-19 situation and harassment of minorities”.